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13.10.2017 | Words by: Jasmin Hoek

After his first encounters with the local nightlife a few years ago, Australian born and raised Max Abysmal has quickly become one of those names that can be found all around the city: as a familiar face behind the red-lit window of Red Light Radio, in De School’s own basement (or garden!), or at some of the most renowned festivals the Dutch summer has to offer. With his obvious love for percussion-filled tracks, Max has mastered the rare art of playing a low-tempo, yet highly intense set. He clearly does not fit in the box of just one genre (sometimes even 80’s synth wave pops up) or setting.
 
This sparked my curiosity about his broad taste in music, so I spoke to Max in anticipation of his ADE appearances to hear more about what he listens to, what he plays, and his journey through sound. Yes, appearances, since he will be playing both in Het Muzieklokaal and in De Tuin, as one half of Bossoyo.
 

Q: How did you get into DJing? What came first: producing or DJing?
 
A: I have always been playing an instrument growing up and I was in a band with some friends, which is some form of producing, haha! I actually came over to Amsterdam to start learning electronic music production at SAE; I got my audio engineering diploma and did a bachelor of arts in audio production. This was all way before I even touched a turntable. I collected records, but never thought of DJing until I was introduced to the nightlife here.
 
Q: You have been living in Amsterdam for quite a while now. What brought you here?
 
A: As I mentioned before, I came here to study at SAE that was supposed to take only a year. However, I couldn’t get enough of Amsterdam and Europe in general. I didn’t want to leave, so I continued on at SAE. Eventually I decided to stay for good. Since I have Dutch parents, I was automatically a citizen and could get a passport straight away.
 
Q: What was your first ADE like?

A: Does anyone remember their first ADE? Lost a few too many braincells that weekend!
 
Q: I saw a video of you after your Boiler Room set at Dekmantel in which you mention it doesn’t work for you to prepare the tracks you are going to play. Is there anything else you do before a set?

A: It really depends, but I definitely do not have a routine I always do. Usually I’ll just throw a bunch of records into my bag that I plan on playing and throw a bunch of tracks into a playlist on my USB a few hours before I leave the house or studio. I just got with what I’ve got, and see the USB more as an extension to my record bag. I would never plan a set unless it’s for a podcast.
 
Q: In the same video you also mention you were into psychedelic rock and dub music before slipping into electronic music. Is there anything I could catch you listening to quite often, but would never hear you play as a DJ?

A: Most of the music I listen to is not what I play in a club. I have the pleasure of hosting a radio show with my friend Daan on Red Light Radio where we have the freedom to play 2 hours of whatever music we want once a month. So, you can hear the music I mostly listen to myself in our show Bossoyo Radio.
 
Q: Where does your love for music come from? What was the first CD, cassette or record you ever bought?
 
A: I don’t think your love for music comes from anywhere. It’s just something you have or you don’t. Ever since I can remember I have been obsessed with making sound, making images, or simply expressing some form of creativity. So, it’s just something that has been in me from the beginning. I don’t remember my first purchase sadly enough, but most probably it was an Eminem album on CD. I was like 8 years old when the iPod came out, so we were brought up with mp3s as kids.
 
Q: And how about the first electronic music record? Or is there a track/record/artist that you have been playing in your sets since the beginning of your DJ career?
 
A: The very first house record I bought was Midnight Hours ‐ Volume 2 haha! I still think it’s a good record, but I haven’t played it in years. I recently played a track off the Can Speak Slow record by Alex Danilov, which was literally the second club record I ever bought.
 
Q: I heard you are releasing on Young Marco’s Safe Trip label soon, and what else is next?
 
A: Yeah! It’s an EP I made a while ago. It has just been taking a lot longer than expected for it to come out, but the masters are back and the artwork is being made. Hopefully it will be here soon! For the rest I have been putting all my focus on an album where I’m experimenting a lot with the freedom to make whatever I want and I’m really enjoying the process. I hope to have it done by the end of the year.
 
Q: Anything you still dream of doing?
 
A: I still dream of travelling the world through music.


Max Abysmal is playing Het Weekend during ADE in De School on Saturday night in Het Muzieklokaal from 20:00 until midnight, and Sunday from 14:00 ­– 17:00, as one half of Bossoyo in De Tuin.
 
Click here for a full schedule and line up, extra info can be found here.
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